Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 17:35 UK

Probe into hares nailed to gate

Gateway on Dark Lane
The dead hares were discovered on May 8 in Newbury near Frome

Two dead hares found nailed to a gate near Frome, Somerset, have sparked an investigation by the RSPCA.

The discovery was made in Dark Lane, Newbury, just three weeks after a dead badger was found hanging from the same five-bar gate.

The hares had suffered broken back legs and numerous wounds and were found with cable ties around their necks.

"My main concern is how these animals were killed and whether they suffered," said RSPCA inspector Nicki Cooke.

A post-mortem test was carried out by local vet Helena Fuddaby, who said the injuries could have been caused by an illegal trap or being caught by dogs during hare coursing.

But she said that no gun pellets were found in either corpse, suggesting the hares were not killed humanely.

Nicki Cooke added: "This is a very strange incident, which is distressing both for the owner of the land and for members of the public as the gate is clearly visible from the road."

The RSPCA is appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

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